With the municipality evaluating AWARE’s petition to officially ban plastic bags in Whistler, the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment has turned its attention to educating the public.
In December, AWARE will be handing out 1,500 reusable cloth bags to Whistler residents, made from recycled cotton scraps sourced at North American textile mills and assembled in New Hampshire. Each bag will contain a flyer explaining the bags, information on AWARE’s plastic bag campaign, and a list of websites where people can go for more information.
A donation from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation helped to pay for the first run of bags, and AWARE recently received funding from the Community Foundation of Whistler to pay for another 600 bags that will be distributed in the New Year.
“Put them in your car or inside your work bag,” said Kiran Pal-Pross, the AWARE director leading the plastic bag campaign. “And if you forget them, make yourself buy a new one instead of accepting a plastic bag. Plastic doesn’t disappear, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller bits. Plastic bags block waterways and kill land and sea animals that mistake them for food. I’ve seen bear scat in the village with plastic bags woven throughout it. We can eliminate senseless waste from the start by using reusable bags.”
The first bag giveaway is at AWARE’s Green Drinks fundraiser on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Black’s Pub, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. AWARE will also launch its new website that day.
The second giveaway is on Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Millennium Place.
As for the bag campaign, Pal-Pross says the municipality is still reviewing the possibility of a bylaw against plastic bags and has asked AWARE to respond to a letter sent by the Environment and Plastics Industry Council in reply to their campaign.
As for what Whistler can use as an alternative to plastic, the municipality’s compost plans will make it possible to use biodegradable garbage bags in the future. As for shopping, reusable bags are always the best option because even bags that break down take energy and resources to manufacture.